June 19, 2004

Constitution Party -- Explicitly Christian?

It is our duty to raise up Christian candidates who can then use their power to influence a return to the Biblical principles upon which our country was founded. A very good beginning to this process is to check out the only explicitly Christian platform of any political party: www.constitutionparty.org and visit Michael Peroutka's website.


This quote from Buddy Hanson appears on Michael Peroutka's website. I started to wonder if the party's platform actually was explicitly Christian. When you read pary materials, it sounds great -- no abortion at all, no gay marriage, strong defense but otherwise small government, reform of every governmental entity including the Department of Education, the House of Representatives, and the US Senate.

And they have attracted a lot of conservative Christians. Christians have grown disillusioned with the Republican Party, and it's catering to Christian ideas and issues only twice every four years. So I'm going to take some time and look at the platform of the Constitution Party, to see if it's really explicitly Christian. You can find their platform right here

  • The Sanctity of Life plank is every pro-lifer's dream, Christian or not. No abortion under any circumstances (even rape or incest). No euthanasia, infanticide, or suicide, either (though how do you enforce a law making suicide illegal?). So this plank passes the test, although it's adoption ensures that no candidate who campaigns on it will ever be elected.

  • The AIDS plank is interesting.
    Under no circumstances should the federal government continue to subsidize activities which have the effect of encouraging perverted or promiscuous sexual conduct. Criminal penalties should apply to those whose willful acts of omission or commission place members of the public at risk of contracting AIDS or HIV.
    In other words, homosexual practices involving an HIV individual would be illegal. I can easilly see this turning into a Sodomy law similar to the one that was overturned in Texas.

    Jewish law loves this plank. This follows the injunction in the Old Testament against the practice of homosexuality. The New Testament talks about the punishment of God being heaped on those who practice homosexuality, but doesn't say anything about civil government legislating against it. Have to give this one a no, if we're talking about Biblically-based Christianity. If we're just talking about what Christians would like to happen, though, it gets a yes. There's a distinction here.

  • Bringing Government Back Home. This one doesn't mention God or Christians in the plank. The Bible doesn't say anything about the size of civil government, so this one gets a no.

  • Character of public officials. Nothing in the Bible about how to select elected officials, either. This I'm giving a maybe, though, since it stands to reason that Christians should expect their elected officials to behave themselves.

  • The next several planks deal with governmental issues -- size of government, defense, etc. I'm skipping over them, although the Bible says little about these subjects. One thing I'd like to point out, though:
    we should immediately give notice of our withdrawal from the Nixon-Brezhnev Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty

    Under no circumstances should we unilaterally surrender our military base rights in Panama.
    The Bible does teach us not to lie, and to be people of our word. As a nation, we have signed these treaties, pledging our national honor to keeping them. Whether we agree with them or not, it is not a Christian characteristic to go back on our word. So we've got a bunch of 'no's here.


{continued in the next post}

Posted by: Warren Kelly at 08:48 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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Constitution Party part 2

{continued from previous post}


  • Education: The Bible teaches that parents are ultimately responsible for the education of their kids. I support school choice. I don't support ending compulsary education, which is what the platform says. I don't think the Bible has a lot to say on this, either.

  • Electoral College, Election Reform -- not a lot in the Bible about this stuff either. I'd bet a lot of good Christians would disagree with the proposals in the platform.

  • Energy: I agree with them, but I don't see a lot in the Bible about energy policy.

  • Environment: The Bible has a lot to say about the environment. It's God's creation, and we are to use it wisely. Stewardship is important, especially in the case of resources that are not renewable, or are very slow in replenishing themselves. SOme people would say that it is the duty of a Christian government to make sure that the environment is protected. Not the Constitution Party. Hands off is their policy.

  • Executive Orders -- nothing in the Bible about that.

  • Family -- I can give this one a check mark. That makes two planks that are distinctly, explicitly Christian.

  • Federal Aid and Foreign Policy bring some questions to mind. Shouldn't Christians be concerned about the welfare of people in impoverished countries? Shouldn't we be concerned with helping people overthrow tyrany? Shouldn't we be doing for the least of these? Not according to the Constitution Party. No more foreign aid, no entangling alliances, no nothing.

    The party's foreign policy would have worked a hundred years ago. Now, America is a dominant nation on the earth, and we are often called on by other countries for help. The Christian thing to do is not to turn our back on these people.

    I'd go on, but I think it's clear that, while very conservative, the Constitution Party is not explicitly Christian. They are very strict interpreters of the Constitution (which explains the name...). Pat Buchannan would be right at home with these folks. Many Christians would not be.

    The real question is -- should Christians be trying to use the civil government to bring the Kingdom of God into existance? I've talked about that one before.

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June 15, 2004

'Under God' Stays

Because he doesn't have the right to speak for his daughter, Michael Newdow's case to eliminate the phrase 'Under God' from the Pledge of Allegiance has been thrown out by the US Supreme Court.

I wondered about this from the beginning. In fact, I seem to recall that the girl was reportedly not offended by the pledge -- her mother claimed at one point that the girl was, in fact, a Christian. In any case, he does not have custody of his daughter, so he cannot speak for her.

I wonder if this was the best ending to the case. I tend to agree with Rehnquist, O'Connor, and Thomas that the majority opinion dodged the issue. All that has to happen is for a custodial atheist to protest the pledge on behalf of his/her kid, and we're going to go through this all over again.

I also like what O'Connor said about the so-called 'heckler vote'. We won't get anything done if we are always having to worry about the protest of one person. Everything we do is bound to offend someone -- the Constitution doesn't give anyone the freedom from being offended.

If you want a legal opinion of this decision, take a look here. In fact, you might want to keep checking back there if you're interested in the issues the Supreme Court is ruling on.

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June 13, 2004

ACLU and the LA Seal

Just when I was thinking that the ACLU might have gotten it's act together.

I've posted twice about the ACLU doing something FOR Christians, rather than TOO Christians. I was starting to think that they'd gotten religion or something, but they haven't.

This story has been blogged about quite a bit -- if you've been living in a cave with no Internet access, check this out, or you can find it here. Post 7 or 8 at Free Republic has a picture of the seal. If you look closely, you can see the cross, middle right. That's what the fuss is all about.

Of course, the big picture of a pagan goddess right in the middle of the seal. Maybe we should complain about that. I'm waiting, as are others, for the ACLU to go after the name of the city/county -- after all, angels are religious figures, and many might be offended by the endorsement of a specific religious system over those who do not believe in angels. And what about all the 'San's in California? Are we going to see a wholesale name-change in California?

I don't even see this as the ACLU 'going after' Christians. I kinda agree with Ed Brayton that this is silliness on both sides of the debate. Unfortunately, the city caved in.

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June 03, 2004

Faith-Based Initiatives

A lot has been said recently about President Bush's faith based initiatives. Most has been said by people who don't like the idea, and see it as the religious right trying to take taxpayers money to fund their evangelistic efforts.

Oddly enough, evangelicals don't always see it that way. In fact, the people who seem to be the most in favor of funding faith-based charities are fiscal conservatives, who see it as an opportunity to cut down the size of government and reduce federal spending.

I've talked to people on both sides of the issue; people who are eager to receive more funding for their work, no matter the source, and people who are afraid of what accepting federal money might entail -- if not now, then later.

I find myself increasingly in the latter category. I find myself wondering what strings might be attached to all that government money. Will we be able to evangelize? What about hiring practices -- can we still only hire people who accept our statement of faith? I know some faith-based charities who don't hire anyone who has been divorced -- what will happen to them if they suddenly are required to hire homosexuals? When we have to hire people who reject our beliefs, can we still seriously be called faith based?

I understand that there are a lot of groups who want the money. Many of these groups are more interested in social welfare than spiritual welfare. If that's their mission, then more power to them -- take the money and run. Don't complain in five or six years when Washington is less favorable to Christians and they try to restrict what you're allowed to do, say, etc. I don't worry about what will happen now as much as I do about what will happen then.

If you are truly faith-based, maybe it's time to exercise that faith, and let God supply all your needs, according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus. Get the government out of the way.

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Let's Hear it for the ACLU part 2

Thanks to The Great Separation for the heads up on this one.

Not sure I'd want to be baptised in the Rappahannock, especially around January or so, but I think it's great that churches are still doing traditional, open-air baptisms. I also think it's a shame that the park can't figure out that they're violating the free exercise clause of the Constitution by kicking them out. And I'm placed in the position of giving the ACLU an 'atta-boy' for actually jumping in to defend the Constitutional rights of Christians. If that happens much more, I may get a rash ...

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May 24, 2004

What is up with THIS?????

Click this link, and see what I'm going on about. If this were a British sit-com (OR a Monty Python sketch), I'd be a gruff policeman coming up repeating "Right! What's all this, then?"

I read this article in the hopes that someone had gotten a late start on April Fool's Day -- or maybe Internet April Fool's Day is actually May 24, or something like that. But no -- these people seem to be quite serious.

I've made my own opinions on the topic of Christian politics pretty clear before, I think. But I really think that this needs to be addressed.

This is a stupid idea. Stupider than all Christians leaving public education. No, this nation is not perfect -- far from it. Yes, we probably have a different idea about the Constitution than the founding fathers did. And society in general has really gone to the dogs, in spite of having Christians in government. So what we're going to do is -- create a Christian government. All of our own.

First of all, we've already got Christians in government, and it isn't working! What makes you think that a new government, run by Christians for Christians, will be able to do things better? Sure, you won't have abortions, you can put blue laws back in force, etc. So what happens the first time a Presbyterian wants to baptize a baby, and the local Baptist church gets mad because that's "un-Christian"? What about the Catholic church down the street that has organized gambling (bingo) to help fund it's activities? Gambling is a sin, after all -- at least it is in many churches.

Problem is -- whose version of Christian government do we implement? Baptists believe in a separation of Church and State -- no State-run religion for us, see what happened when Constantine did it? -- Government-organized councils deciding church doctrine! None of that for us! Or do you go with the liberal State that is giving to the poor and needy -- free health care, etc. -- Jesus said to do it for the least of these, right? And this is a Christian government, right?

Can't be done -- unless you only let Christians of your particular denomination in. And if you're a Baptist, good luck. Put two Baptists in a room together, you'll have three opinions on everything. We're troublemakers -- that's our job. In the body of Christ, we are the Achilles tendon -- important, but if we get irritated, everything stops.

Let's look at the problems they have with the US:

* Abortion continues against the wishes of many States
* Children may not pray in our schools*
* The Bible is not welcome in schools except under strict FEDERAL guidelines
* The 10 Commandments remain banned from public display
* Sodomy is now legal AND celebrated as ?diversity? rather than perversion
* Preaching Christianity will soon be outlawed as ?hate speech?¹²
* Gay marriage will be foisted upon us in the very near future


Abortion continues -- there's a solution for this: teach kids about Jesus! Jesus changes lives! Jesus changes hearts!

Children may not pray in schools -- bull! Kids can pray anytime they want to, as long as a teacher isn't leading the prayer. With all the complaints about heathen in public education, do you really want them teaching your kids to pray?? Not me -- I'm teaching my own to pray, and letting her know that nobody can keep her from praying.

Bible not welcome? My wife kept hers on her desk all year long -- at a public school. Did her devotions during her planning period -- at a public school. Get a clue before you spew this garbage. There were kids all year long who read their Bible openly at lunch, and nobody could stop them. It's the law, guys!

Preaching outlawed as hate speech? Doubtful. If they do it, they'll have to put me in jail, just like they did to the apostles. I won't run away from people who need the Gospel. Preaching is illegal in many parts of the world, and there are God-anointed people preaching in underground churches every day to throngs of believers. Run if you want to -- I'll stick around and do God's work.

Gay marriage? See my first point. Tell them about Jesus, and He can change them!

{sigh}.

This stuff gets me fired up. I'm tired of American Christians whining about how terrible things are, and how rough it is to be a Christian. There are people in the world who would give everything they own to have things as "rough" as we do. We haven't had enough persecution, in my not-so-humble opinion. We've got too many Christians who are comfortable, and when their comfort zone is violated, they want to run away.

I'm not running. If they make it illegal to preach, who knows -- I may become a preacher after all. If they ban the Bible, I'll buy a press and start printing them. I'm not going to go off to some Christian Utopia and bury my head in the sand and let the rest of the nation go to Hell in a handbasket.

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April 13, 2004

Religion in the Media part 2

This is the article that I just finished reading (would have been done LONG ago, but I've had some wierd stomach virus thing). As I said, it shouldn't surprise anyone that the news media doesn't always represent religion in a favorable, or even accurate, light. The surprise should be that, apparently, the majority of Americans know better, and are willing to watch the misrepresentations anyway. We're willing to let liberal Bible scholars question the reliability of Scriptural accounts. We're willing to let them say that the Gnostic Gospels are more accurate. Why?

I think the biggest part of that answer is the anti-intellectualism that people perceive as part of religion. Matters of faith, we believe, aren't on the same level as history, or science. Faith is individual, it's personal, and what we believe, while good for us, may not be good for everybody. It doesn't even have to be logical; it's faith, after all. And this is an area where evangelicals are trying to make up lost ground.

We say that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Light. If Jesus is the Truth, shouldn't that Truth be, well, true? If we accept that the Bible is God's Word to us, shouldn't that Word be accurate? If it tells us something as basic as the fact of Jesus' burial in a borrowed tomb, shouldn't we accept that as a fact? If it's lying about something like that, how do we determine what it isn't lying about? Can we?

Christians have become afraid of investigating their faith, partially due to the influence of liberal scholarship. If these "learned people" can poke such holes in Christian traditions, why would a Christian want to investigate further -- especially if it runs the risk of destroying our faith? Fortunately, these naysayers and skeptics are not the only authorities. There are conservative Bible scholars of all denominations who take orthodox Christian beliefs seriously, and are showing that they are logical, historic, and valid. We won't find them in the popular media, unless it is on a program outnumbered 4:1 by the Jesus Seminar. We have to find them ourselves -- we have to look. We have to read. We have to do for ourselves the things that the Reformation gave us the ability and the right to do -- study the Bible, and question teachers that contradict it. Until we do that, Peter Jennings will continue to throw softballs at John Shelby Spong and John Dominic Crossan on programs about why Christianity isn't what it was supposed to be, and we'll sit and watch, and wonder about what we were taught in Sunday School. And until we are willing to learn, Christianity will continue to stagnate in the United States, while the Church moves forward throughout China, Africa, and many parts in the East, where they haven't lost the zeal for God's Word.

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April 10, 2004

Religion in the Media

I'm in the middle of reading this report right now. When i'm done, I'll have a little more in-depth commentary on it. But for right now:

Does it really surprise anyone that there has been an increase in religion-related broadcasting, especially in the news? With all the reporting about the Catholic priest scandals, Mel Gibson's movie, and the Left Behind books, of course religion has gotten a lot of press! The problem is, they are asking the questions to the wrong people. John Dominic Crossan is the most visible "Bible scholar" around, if you believe what you see on TV. If ABC, Discovery, History Channel, and the rest are any indication, there are no conservative scholars in the world at all -- at least no scholars who hold to an orthodox position on Christianity. And the average American isn't willing to do their homework -- if they were, these specials would never get the ratings that they do, because people would know better! There was very little on the ABC special that I'd never heard before. Even less on some of the other attempts to cash in on Easter.

Maybe that's just because I'm one of those goofy people who prefers books to TV, but I refuse to believe that the average American is illiterate. NONliterate, maybe. We can read, we just don't want to be bothered. We'd rather listen to the talking heads on TV tell us what Christianity is really all about, so we can laugh at the goofy religious guy at work on Monday. And Christians are as bad, if not worse, than everyone else.

More about this tomorrow, I promise. It's time to dye Easter eggs.

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